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  1. iPhone vertical case with hole for charging, saddle leather stitched and 4 rivets + D-ring and Sam Brown fastening stud (brown). IN STOCK
  2. iPhone vertical case with hold for charging, saddle leather stitched and 4 rivets + D-ring and Sam Brown fastening stud (black). Given to Bernard Brécy
  3. Round knife sheath, saddle leather all stitched (dark brown). For me
  4. Holster for waterproof box, saddle leather all stitched + D-ring and Sam Brown fastening stud (dark brown). Given to Yoko & Arnaud de Coupigny as a wedding present with picnic items
  5. iPhone & glasses clutch bag, saddle leather all stitched + D-ring and Sam Brown fastening stud (two-tone brown). For Sarah
  6. Spectacles case, saddle leather all stitched (black). For Sarah
  7. Spectacles case, saddle leather all stitched (small black). For me
  8. Spectacles case, saddle leather all stitched (larger black). For me
  9. Sandwich box case, saddle leather all stitched + D-ring and Sam Brown fastening stud (two-tone brown). For Timur
  10. Sandwich box case, saddle leather all stitched + D-ring and Sam Brown fastening stud (two-tone brown). For me
  11. Sandwich box case with carrying handle, saddle leather all stitched + D-ring and Sam Brown fastening stud (two-tone brown) for bicycle repair kit. For me
  12. iPhone & glasses case with carrying handle, saddle leather stitched and 5 rivets + D-ring and Sam Brown fastening stud (two-tone brown). For Ingrid de Lautour's 70th birthday
  13. Large sandwich box case with brass buckle, saddle leather all stitched + D-ring (two-tone brown). For me [Improved in 11-2016 with military brass buckle and carrying handle]
  14. Sheath for small leatherwork knife, saddle leather all stitched (black). For me
  15. Sheath for large leatherwork knife made from band-saw steel, saddle leather all stitched (black). For me
  16. Pouch for leatherwork needles, saddle leather all stitched (black). For me
  17. Small slim horizontal iPhone 6S case with hole for charging, round corners, saddle leather all stitched + large D-ring and Sam Brown fastening stud (black) used by me for quite a while. Given to Lydie Eyckmans
  18. Leather strop with nickel rings at each end, saddle leather all stitched (black). For Colin King
  19. Smaller satchel with three straps, one with brass buckle and two attaching to Sam Brown studs, saddle leather all stitched, designed for Brompton bike. For me
  20. A4 leather artist’s folder with stiff spine and black leather stiffening panel (contain a drawing pad) and with double leather bootlace straps to hold folded A3 documents (brown), soft English leather all stitched. For Timur D’Vatz
  21. Small slim horizontal iPhone 6S case with hole for charging, rounded flap corners, saddle leather all stitched (black) with Sam Brown stud. For Alison Rowe
  22. Small slim horizontal Galaxy phone case with square flap corners, saddle leather all stitched with Sam Brown stud and brown closing strap stitched to contain a small D-ring (black). For Ales Sedlar
  23. Small slim horizontal iPhone 6S case with holes for charging and sound, square corners, saddle leather all stitched (black). For me
  24. Small slim horizontal iPhone 6S case with hole for charging, square corners, saddle leather all stitched (black). For Bill Hollis
  25. Larger satchel with three straps, one with brass buckle and two attaching to Sam Brown studs, saddle leather all stitched, designed for Brompton bike. For me
  26. Sheath for 2nd leatherwork knife, saddle leather all stitched (black). For me
  27. Visitors' Book cover in brown distressed leather with spine bracing and two pockets, soft English leather all stitched. For us
  28. Two double strap slip dog collars (34.5cm and 35cm) with interlocking large steel rings, saddle leather. For Kernel and Pepin
  29. A slip dog collar with strip for a name tag and interlocking large steel rings, saddle leather. For Rob Adams' bitch Tattie
  30. A single leather strap slip dog collar with interlocking large brass rings, saddle leather. For Sandra Hollis's bitch Leyla
  31. A brown leather handbag with decorative stitching and two brass side buckles and shoulder strap, soft Argentine leather. For SRL
  32. Small slim horizontal iPhone 6 case with holes for charging and sound, square corners, saddle leather all stitched (black). For Adina Cheriches
  33. A vertical iPhone case with long front flap and Sam Brown fastening stud (using up leather off-cuts), saddle leather all stitched. For Mary Ann Furze
  34. A greyhound collar with brass fittings, saddle leather all stitched. For Col. Bruce Dyson's dog, Freddy
  35. A brown rectangular pill box, saddle leather all stitched. For me
  36. A black rectangular leather chocolate box, saddle leather all stitched. For SRL
  37. A satchel in two shades of brown, soft Argentine leather with Sam Brown fittings. For me
  38. A sporran in English saddle leather and soft Argentine leather, all stitched with Sam Brown stud. For Gary Crawford-Coupe
  39. A sporran in brown French leather, all stitched with brass Sam Brown stud. For me
  40. An iPhone 6S case in brown French leather, all stitched with brass Sam Brown stud and harness D. For me
  41. A mobile phone wallet case in brown English saddle leather and soft Argentine leather, all stitched. For Baudouin Dumas de Mascarel
  42. A 40-inch dog collar in black English saddle leather, double thickness, all stitched with brass rings, all stitched.
  43. A short strop in black saddle leather with stainless steel D-ring ends, all stitched. For me
  44. A sporran, mixed light and dark tan soft Argentine leather, all stitched with Sam Brown stud. For me
  45. Small slim horizontal iPhone 6S case, square corners, black saddle leather all stitched (black) with stainless steel D-ring. For Françoise Herman
  46. A small slim horizontal iPhone 6S case, square corners, black saddle leather with dark brown strap, all stitched. For Nađa Kafedžić.
  47. A passport size document and iPhone pouch in brown French leather, all stitched with heavy brass harness D and Sam Brown stud. For me
  48. A passport size document and iPhone 6S wallet in brown French leather, all stitched. Version 1. For SRL
  49. A passport size document and iPhone 6S wallet in brown French leather, all stitched with tuck-in closing strap. Version 2. For me
  50. A travel pack wallet in brown French leather with inner pocket and water resistant flaps, all stitched with two small D-rings, two Sam Brown studs and a brown canvas shoulder strap with two brass rein slides. For me

Tools

New tools are expensive and you may not really need that many. See the list below for the basic items which most people need, but otherwise try buying things only when you find you really need them. If you can, lay your hands on a set of good second-hand tools that have been properly looked after. Alternatively you may find individual items on Ebay or in secondhand shops. For good quality new tools, look at the range offered by Abbey England and Tandy. Nearly everything I need can be seen in the four pictures to the left of this column, though even some of these are unnecessary duplicates.

I divide my tools into separate groups which are boxed separately to make it easier to find things:

Sharpening blades

Leather

Work surface & cutting boards

Light

Needles & thread

Cutting, preparing, finishing & stitching

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Making things in leather

by Christopher Long


Leatherwork Images

L

eather has always appealed to me – the smell, the texture, the stange combination of suppleness and strength – but it wasn't until March this year [2016] that I ever considered that I might make things from it myself. In fact the idea only came about when a friend unintentionally smashed my iPhone and I knew that my new one would need the protection of a well-designed leather case. But nowhere on the web could I find exactly what I wanted.

banner The same problem arose when I was looking for a little leather bag to hold a puncture repair kit for my Brompton bike. When I was a child, men riding their bikes to work often had one of their fathers' World War l leather ammunition pouches attached to the back of their saddles. The 'real thing' was the traditional little bag made by Brooks. But today a new Brooks bag can cost almost as much as a second-hand bike.

Right: Genuine WWl British military ammunition pouches. In the 1950s these were often re-used as bicycle saddle-bags for tools and puncture repair kits. This pair inspired the author to try leatherwork himself.
Below right: John Hogbin's mahogany leatherworker's box, bought by CAL in 1974 complete with tools.

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And so I wondered if I could make something that would do. And by an extraordinary coincidence I remembered that somewhere I had a box of exotic-looking Victorian tools which had been languishing in the dark in a succession of attics for the past forty years... Were these by any chance saddlery tools? Well they were, and so I started watching many of the excellent YouTube films by Ian Atkinson of Leodis Leather. He taught me a lot and then I was lucky to get encouragement from two local master saddlers, Chris Garrett and André Bubear.

banner banner banner banner I collected a few more tools and friends offered me several large, thick, vegetable-tanned hides which had become suitably 'distressed' after spending years on an office floor pretending to be linoleum. Carefully (the best word would be 'gingerly') I began making things for myself and of course I made terrible mistakes. But I was surprised to find that I could plan out the job, cut and shape the leather, attach buckles, straps and rings and then sew the thing together by hand.

banner banner banner banner banner banner But this smug self-satisfaction was short-lived. At heart I'm a perpetually dissatisfied perfectionist and I soon realised how inadequate my first efforts had been. I keep trying to do better and to learn from my mistakes but although I'm pretty sure I've improved – gradually making more challenging items which require new skills and techniques – I know I'm eternally doomed to disappointment. Walsall – for 200 years the heart of Britain's leather-working trade – is not clamouring for my services!

Nevertheless, in order to encourage others to believe that they could do at least as well as I have done, I'm including pictures on this page of all the items I make: good, bad or indifferent...
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© (2016) Christopher A. Long. Copyright, Syndication & All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
The text and graphical content of this and linked documents are the copyright of their author and or creator and site designer, Christopher Long, unless otherwise stated.
No publication, reproduction or exploitation of this material may be made in any form prior to clear written agreement of terms with the author or his agents.

Christopher Long

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